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Visiting Naples for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do


Visiting Naples for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do
Hi, I'm Rebecca!

Rebecca’s first visit to Italy was a coup de foudre and her affection for Il Bel Paese has only grown over almost 30 years of living here, during which time she has mastered the art of navigating the sampietrini cobblestones in heels but has yet to come away from a plate of bucatini all’amatriciana with an unsullied blouse. She covers Italy travel, culture, and cuisine for a number of print and online publications.

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With its captivating contrast and relentless pace, Naples—which stretches from the Mediterranean to Mt. Vesuvius—can seem daunting. Tackle this coastal capital one highlight at a time, taking in its history, culture, and cuisine in small doses. Here’s how first-time visitors can fall in love with Bella Napoli.


Begin at the heart

And explore the historic city.

Naples’ pulsating heart is its historic center, or centro storico. No visit to this storied city is complete without a tour of this warren of narrow lanes lined with everything from magnificent churches to tiny artisan workshops. Join a walking, biking, or Segway tour to learn about the rich local culture of this teeming neighborhood.

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Sample the local snacks

And eat like an Italian.

Home to pizza, pasta, and pastries, Naples is the food capital of southern Italy. Join a food tour of the city center to taste authentic Neapolitan pizza margherita, local sweets like babà al rhum and sfogliatelle, and some of the best espresso in the world. If you want to take the flavor of Naples home, join a cooking class and learn how to prepare classic local dishes.

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Enjoy a perfect slice of Neapolitan pizza in Naples. Photo: Silvia Longhi / Viator

Go beneath the surface

And explore a different side to the city.

The history of Naples stretches back millennia, and to really get a feel for its fascinating past, you need to head below the modern city’s streets. Join an underground tour and discover Roman ruins and surprising ancient treasures hidden deep beneath the historic center.

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Visit Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius

And travel back in time.

Naples has long lived in peace with its volcanic neighbor, but not all nearby cities have been so lucky. Tour the ruins of ancient Pompeii to understand the devastating power of this mountain, which erupted and buried the city in 79 AD, forever freezing it in time.

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Don't skip the ruins of Pompeii on your first trip to Naples. Photo: Silvia Longhi / Viator

Take a wine tour

And taste the terroir.

The hulking form of Mt. Vesuvius dominates the skyline above Naples, and its countless eruptions over the millennia have made its slopes some the most fertile in the region. Take a wine tour of lush mountain vineyards to taste the local reds and whites while drinking in views of the city.

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Set sail across the bay

And enjoy that Italian sea air.

Naples is the perfect jumping-off point for exploring the nearby Amalfi Coast as well as Sorrento and the island of Capri. Take advantage of the city’s strategic oceanfront location, and book a boat tour to one of these popular destinations.

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Make the most of your visit to Naples with an Amalfi Coast day trip. Photo: Silvia Longhi / Viator

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Hi, I'm Rebecca!

Rebecca’s first visit to Italy was a coup de foudre and her affection for Il Bel Paese has only grown over almost 30 years of living here, during which time she has mastered the art of navigating the sampietrini cobblestones in heels but has yet to come away from a plate of bucatini all’amatriciana with an unsullied blouse. She covers Italy travel, culture, and cuisine for a number of print and online publications.

Keep exploring
See all Naples tours
2,070 tours & tickets
Things to do in Naples
See all things to do in Naples
Naples Neighborhood Guide
5 Must-See Naples Neighborhoods and How to Visit